John Muldoon warns Connacht must refocus for Llanelli

Connacht captain John Muldoon said that the province must take the abandonment of their Guinness PRO12 clash with Zebre in their stride and concentrate on the next match, a trip to Llanelli next weekend where they bid to secure their first win of the campaign.

Muldoon said he had never played in a competitive game which was abandoned, although he did recall one bizarre match from his underage days.

“I’ve had a couple of occasions where it’s been called off.

“I think Treviso three or four years ago, just before we went out onto the pitch, we had done the warm-up. Actually, it wasn’t even that bad but they called it off.

“This is the first time I’ve ever played, well professionally played, a game for 40 minutes and it got called off. I played an underage game in snow and thankfully it was called off after 60 odd minutes or something.

“Our winger went to the toilet halfway through the second half and didn’t bother coming back on!

“He was on the opposite side with the wind blowing and he never touched the ball in the second half.”

The PRO12 fixture with Zebre, who Connacht will meet in Parma next month again in the Champions Cup, will be rescheduled and is likely to be slotted in prior to the start of the Six Nations.

Zebre, who started with 14 Italian internationals on Saturday, could be depleted at that stage as Conor O’Shea prepares for his first Six Nations in charge of the Italians.

O’Shea was in Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to see Zebre outscore Connacht three tries to one and looked good for their first win over the westerners in 13 meetings when they led 22-10 at the break before the game was called off due to a storm.

Muldoon said they knew the match was in doubt when they got back into the dressing room.

“It was really bad. I don’t think we needed lights in the changing room the way it was flashing outside. We would have liked to have played but you don’t need to be stupid.”

He said there isn’t any panic in the Connacht camp and they are confident they can turn it around after losing their opening two matches at home to Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys.

“One or two little errors and we’ve one or two new lads fitting into the system and getting used to things. We know everything is there and everything is in place. We know what we’re doing. It’s just a matter of fine- tuning one or two things and just maybe tweaking one or two things.

“We’ll be very disappointed when we look back at the video with the three tries they got.

“Even as we learned that the game was called off, there was a couple of lads that were very disappointed with a few errors, myself included.

“That error that I made, I’ve been playing rugby long enough, sometimes you get away with them but I got punished hard for it. Pat will be giving me a wrap on the knuckles for it,” added Muldoon.


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